Teaching assistants face the axe

Government ministers have started talks to phase out teaching assistants in England to save £4 billion a year, but heads and parents are likely to oppose the move.

There are currently 232,000 teaching assistants, three times the number in 2000.  The last government introduced them to ease pressure on teachers and give them more time to prepare lessons and mark work. Phasing teaching assistants out would enable schools to hire more teachers and reduce the DfE’s budget, and would probably take several years.

The think-tank Reform questions the value for money of teaching assistants and claims that their impact on educational outcomes for pupils is ‘negligible’. Its research director Thomas Cawston said: “We found that while they were supposed to help teachers, they were actually being allowed to take classes themselves. Not being prepared or qualified to so those classes, they were not doing a very good job. The money spent on teaching assistants would be far better spent on improving the quality of teachers.”

The individual attention they can give to children is valued by parents and headteachers, and Labour MP Meg Hillier opposes axing them: “I fear this is just another excuse for cutting services with no regard for the real impact on the lives and opportunities of some of the neediest children.”

How would axing teaching assistants affect you and your pupils? Share your views!

54 thoughts on “Teaching assistants face the axe

  1. I can’t believe that TA’s could be phased out completely in a few years, they are valued by both
    head teachers and teachers because of their support, and that they can spend more valid time
    with children that really need help.
    I myself was a TA for 25 years and I know for a fact that teacher’s cannot see to all the children’s needs , they just have not got the time.
    the government might save more money, but at what cost. I really do think the schools would be a lot worse off without TA’s, also what about adding to the unemployment. most of these TA’s depend on their jobs. Also what other jobs can women do when their children are at school.
    Can I also say is this government on a mission to make more of the lower paid (and most TA’s are low paid for what they do) unemployed.

  2. My son is blind without any light perception , he is in a mainstream school and supported by a TA without who would mean he would need to be in a special school costing the goverment far more than it dose to pay her wages.

  3. How funny it is to read some of the comments on this forum. I have been a teaching assistant for 6 years, have 8 ‘o’ levels including English and Maths, 2 ‘A’ levels and an NVQ 2 in supporting teaching and learning. I have to say that in my experience, I have a better knowledge of maths and spelling than many of the teachers aged under 30 that I have worked with. I often have to discretely tell them they have made a mistake .Several of them had to retake their Maths GCSE several times and have relied on an education with spellcheck to help them out. Don’t get rid of TAs, improve the standard of teachers!

  4. In our High School level 3 Teaching Assistants have been selected for redundancies, but level 2 and level2 assistants are not in line to be made redundant. Does anyone know whether this is fair selection?

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